A Tallahassee Toddler's Miraculous Story of Survival

By: Jennifer Milton Email
By: Jennifer Milton Email

Riley Welter is a happy, loving, 19 month old who loves to play peek-a-boo.

"peek-a boo"

But Riley's parents say he is a miracle child. Doctor's discovered Riley had a catastrophic heart defect when his mother was 4 months pregnant. They recommended she terminate the pregnancy or Riley would die at birth. The Welter's decided not to abort, and Riley was born by C-section after only 25 weeks in the womb.

"They had convinced us going into the O-R that the only reasonable thing to do was to hold him and let him go, and we held him for about 5 or 10 minutes, you know, we were just expecting him to go at any moment," said Ben Welter.

But Riley stunned doctors when they saw the two pound preemie fighting to stay alive.

"I didn't know babies could come out that small and still make it. His skin you could almost see through, and it almost didn't even look like a baby when I first saw it," said Riley's brother Bryan Welter.

3 months in the NICU and one heart surgery later, doctors diagnosed Riley with a rare disorder called Charge Syndrome- which is known to cause heart defects and slow growth and development. But, even more rare than Riley's disorder, is the fact that he survived at all.

"I was beginning to get a little bit bitter after what they had told us, and the fact that he was making it and doing OK and "I asked one of the neo-natologists and I said 'you know I can't help but feel that you know, he must be like one out of a hundred that has those problems and comes out so well, and she smirked at me and said 'more like one out of a million."

Riley will need one more heart surgery when he weighs around 40 pounds and he'll have to take several medications for the rest of his life.


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